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How Asda cut out 6,500 tonnes of plastic packaging in a year

Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/PA Images

Asda has announced it removed over 6,500 tonnes of single-use plastic packaging from its products over the past year.

The Walmart-owned supermarket giant said it achieved this huge reduction in plastic waste by switching to alternative forms of packaging for own-brand products ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables, to electronics, to homeware.

Some of the steps taken include swapping plastic package on ready meals for foil, removing plastic covers from over 50 million greeting cards, and scrapping plastic film on over 1.6 million mince pies sold during the 2018 festive season.

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Over 12 months, Asda managed to remove about 600 million empty plastic bottles’ worth of plastic from its products in total, as part of a commitment to combat plastic pollution.

The superstore has also swapped polystyrene pizza bases for fully-recyclable cardboard ones, as it works towards its goal of making 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025.

In 2019, customers can expect Asda to remove all plastic packaging and cutlery from its cafes, and phase out 5p plastic carrier bags. It has also said it will continue to redesign as much packaging as it can in an effort to cut out unnecessary plastic wherever possible.

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Additionally, Asda will work alongside packaging experts at Leeds Beckett University to assess alternative packaging possibilities, and release a report later this year.

Roger Burnley, president and CEO of Asda said: “Making changes of this scale in a business of this size is never easy, but I was clear last year that we needed to take a root and branch review of what packaging we use for our products.

“Our customers expected this of us and while we’ve reached a major milestone, we know there is more that can be done and we are committed to making meaningful changes wherever possible.

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“In many cases packaging is still essential to protect against waste, but avoiding the use of unnecessary plastic will rightly be the starting point for all of our packaging designs in future.”